Sports Person of the Week
Collins Carves Out Quality Career with the Warriors
Recent Valley Regional graduate Maeve Collins was slated to be a captain with the Warriors’ girls’ lacrosse squad this year. Maeve was also involved in a plethora of extracurricular activities at Valley Regional. (Photo courtesy of Maeve Collins)
Maeve Collins was primed to lead the Valley Regional girls’ lacrosse team as one of its senior captains this year. A recent Valley graduate, Maeve had her sights set on being a defensive stalwart for the Warriors in what would have been her fourth season with the squad. Unfortunately, all spring sports were canceled due to COVID-19 before Maeve had her chance at leading the team.
Maeve saw a marked improvement in her play during the course of her career at Valley. Despite the fact that there was no 2020 season, Maeve will always feel proud about what she accomplished.
“I think that honestly just growing as a player has been one of my biggest accomplishments. I wasn’t very confident going into high school lacrosse,” says Maeve. “I was surrounded by people that were always pushing me to keep improving myself. It’s been rewarding reflecting on my growth and sticking with it all those years.”
When Maeve began her high school career, she was moved out of the backfield and onto the attack by then-head coach Cory Needleman. That was a difficult transition for Maeve, but by her junior year, she was back on defense thanks to some adjustments made by Head Coach Randy Netsch.
“I played two seasons as an attacker, and I was never as comfortable going toward the goal,” Maeve says. “I was the person that could watch the field and keep the movement going [on defense]. I would draw shooting space for the girl going to the goal. Once Coach Netsch took over, he saw my potential as a defender.”
Maeve found that understanding how to navigate the backfield made all the difference as a defender. As her confidence grew, so did her defensive prowess.
“I think that movement is super important. You can’t be afraid to be aggressive. When I was younger, I always struggled with asserting myself in a safe but effective way. That was something I worked on,” says Maeve, who lives in Essex. “Learning different techniques and how to put yourself in the right physical position is what I found most important. You have to be aware of the field.”
Maeve was hoping to pass on her knowledge to Valley’s younger athletes as a team captain this spring. She was also looking forward to working with fellow senior captains Celia Ghilani and Elena Peterlik.
“When I got captain, I was extremely excited and honored. There were some really great girls up for it, and there was no certainty that I would get it. I was joining two amazing captains already,” Maeve says. “Going in, I really wanted to build relationships with the younger JV girls. That was something I wanted to bring to the team specifically—communication with newer players and the girls who had never played before.”
Even though Maeve didn’t get to serve as a captain for Valley during the spring, she did hold that role for her club team this winter.
“Missing the season was disappointing. We had a great group of girls, but it was really wonderful to see the boys’ and girls’ teams come together and do some nice stuff for the seniors to make up for the missing the season and Senior Night,” Maeve says. “A lot of the girls played in an indoor season in the winter. It was great that we had that chance to do that, but it’s also sad, because we jelled so well in the winter. I know we had a chance to be really good in the spring. That was my first chance to embrace the captain’s role on the field.”
Coach Netsch feels saddened by the fact that the Warriors never got their opportunity to work with Maeve as one of their captains. Netsch knows that Maeve was going to teach many valuable things to her teammates.
“Maeve’s a very intelligent young lady who’s involved in all kinds of clubs at school. She was a new captain this year. It was unfortunate the players couldn’t play under her. She’s a natural-born leader in the way she approaches people,” says Netsch. “Maeve transitioned really well from offense to defense. She has great foresight and is able to anticipate the attacking players when they come into the defensive end. She was good to have back there as the leader and talking to the girls to keep them focused.”
Aside from playing sports, Maeve was involved in a wide array of extracurricular activities at Valley Regional. Maeve performed in the school’s productions of Aida, Cinderella, Newsies, and Matilda. Additionally, Maeve was involved in the Model United Nations, Mock Trial, the Global Women’s Political Advocacy Club, and the Political Union.
Maeve’s involvement in those organizations informed her chosen course of study—political science—at UConn. Maintaining all of her commitments took some serious scheduling on Maeve’s part, but by doing so, Maeve believes that she is well-prepared for life after high school.
“I think that time management was absolutely huge, planning out my week ahead of time and being aware of my schedule all the time. I had to schedule time in for myself, even if it was just a little while,” Maeve says. “I would come home from the musical, and it would be 8:30. That meant I was at school for 12 hours. You have to be aware and schedule time in at night to just breathe and take care of your physical and mental health. There are things that are more important than your other activities. Taking care of yourself is important.”